County Health Department Advises Residents to Drink Water, Cool off and Never Leave People or Pets in a Closed Car
Temperatures in Westchester County are expected to reach the upper 90’s on Thursday, with humidity making it feel even hotter than the thermometer reads, so the Westchester County Health Department is issuing a heat advisory. As humidity and temperatures rise, residents should avoid strenuous activity, drink lots of water, avoid alcohol and caffeine, and cool off to prevent heat-related illness. Relief from the heat is expected over the weekend as temperatures dip back into the upper 70’s.
“Pace yourself -- don’t overdo it in the heat,” said County Executive George Latimer. “If you spend a lot of time outdoors, take breaks in an air-conditioned place and drink lots of water. And during a heat wave, remember to always check in on your elderly or ailing neighbors.”
Sherlita Amler, MD, Westchester County Commissioner of Health, said people who are most vulnerable to adverse effects from the heat include the very young, seniors, people who are obese and those with high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes or lung conditions.
“By now we should all know what to do, but heat stroke and dehydration can take you by surprise,” Amler said. “High humidity, chronic health conditions and some medications can also increase a person’s risk for heat stroke. People who are at risk should avoid vigorous outdoor activity, seek the shade, spend time in air-conditioned locations and drink lots of water throughout the day.”
Heat stroke is a serious and life-threatening condition whose symptoms include hot red, dry skin, shallow breathing, a rapid, weak pulse and confusion. Anyone suffering from heat stroke needs to receive emergency medical treatment immediately. Call 911 if you suspect heat stroke and immediately cool the overheated person while waiting for help to arrive.
“To avoid tragedy, it’s also vital to never leave infants, children, seniors or pets in a closed car no matter how brief the time,” Amler said. “Closed vehicles can quickly heat up to a life-threatening 140º F or more.”
Another concern during a heat wave is heat exhaustion. Seniors, young children, people who are overweight or who have high blood pressure, people who work outside or in other hot environments are most at risk. Frequent breaks and drinking lots of water can help prevent heat exhaustion. Signs include headache, nausea or vomiting, dizziness and exhaustion, as well as cool, moist, pale or flushed skin. Anyone suffering from heat exhaustion should move out of the sun and apply cool, wet cloths to their skin.
For tips to prevent heat-related illness and places to stay cool, residents can visit the Health Department website at www.westchestergov.com/health.